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FEBS Lett. 1988 Jan 25;227(2):91-5.

Towards an understanding of the biological function of histone acetylation.

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Institut für Medizinische Chemie und Biochemie, Universität Innsbruck, Austria.


A model is presented which explains the biological function of posttranslational acetylation of core histones in chromatin. Along the lines of this model histone acetylation serves as a general mechanism to destabilize nucleosome core particles during various processes occurring in chromatin. Acetylation acts as a signal that modulates histone-protein and histone-DNA interactions and finally leads to the displacement of particular histones from nucleosome cores. The high specificity of the acetylation signal for different processes (DNA replication, transcription, differentiation-specific histone replacement) is achieved by site specificity and asymmetry of acetylation in nucleosomes. The essential features of this model are in accord with the more recent results on histone acetylation.

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